Preparing your Citrus Trees for Winter
Australia is a country with diverse and ranging micro climates.
We have zones that during winter will drop to temperatures below 0 and zones that will experience snow falls. Frost is common across many areas of Australia, icy winds, hail and misty miserableness.
None of these chilly elements are favoured by citrus trees, however with the right preparation and follow up, your trees will come through winter with a big smile, ready to flourish and enjoy the warmth of the season’s ahead.
FRUIT ON YOUR TREES!
This is the most exciting time of the year. Savour the absolute deliciousness of sweet, winter ripe citrus, plucked straight from the tree. It’s Heavenly!
Coming into winter your trees will or may, be carrying some fruit, it’s the chill of winter weather that colours up citrus fruit, the cold temperatures convert the sugars of the fruit, increasing the sweetness and flavour. Leave the fruit on your tree to colour and flavour up.
Your last fertilising of your citrus tree should have been in March, while the tree is active and taking up nutrients. Now is a time of slowing down and shutting up the shop for a few months, no growth will occur on the tree or from the roots, feeding is of no benefit now, leave your trees in peace for winter contemplation.
Water is still required, if you have your citrus planted in pots, keep an eye out, you’ll need to water, even it’s raining unless the potting mix is getting drenched by rainfall, often the leaves deflect off the water and pots can get dry. You’ll certainly be watering less, however you need to be mindful.
Moisture around the root zone helps a tree cope with frost and colder temperatures, it may seem a little counter intuitive to water in the cold weather, however cold temperatures will draw moisture away from the tree.
If you feel your trees are too young to cope with a belt of super cold weather you could wrap them in shade cloth or frost cloth. If in pots you may wish to move them into a warmer more sheltered position, ultimately your trees will cope and are best hardened up for the winter months. We are going to call it Citrus tough love!
Citrus generally are very versatile and adaptable however if you live In really cold zones that are prone to long icy winters your best selections are:
Meyer Lemon or Lisbon
Be without stress, if the worst occurs, it is usually possible to bring back to life a cold damaged citrus tree. Leave it be until August, or when the frosts are done in your area. Then prune away any sad sections, keeping the shape of the tree even. Apply some seaweed or fish tonics, and then in September/ October a delicious dose of organic fertiliser. With warmer weather and sunshine your tree will bounce into new life and growth.